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Allegations of sex abuse surface against Pinellas rehab director

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Jetta Deitchman referred to Simply Hope as part of jail diversion program Jetta Deitchman referred to Simply Hope as part of jail diversion program
PINELLAS PARK, FL (WFLA) -

Pinellas county sheriff's detectives are now investigating more disturbing allegations that the director of a drug rehab program used his influence with the courts, hoping to gain sex from female clients.

The rehab program is called Simply Hope. It is located in Pinellas Park. Its director is Ray Harris.

Harris carries great weight with the Pinellas drug court.

Probation records obtained by 8 On Your Side show that 27-year-old Jetta Deitchman spoke with a detective about an ordeal involving Harris.

According to Deitchman's attorney, Roger Futerman, Jetta Deitchman is a victim of sexual abuse and is cooperating with law enforcement in its ongoing criminal investigation involving Harris.

The drug court referred Deitchman to Harris' Simply Hope as part of its jail diversion program. Deitchman has a history of drug related arrests dating back to 2004. Deitchman claims Harris sexually abused her last March.

Her lawyer, Futerman, claims the day following the alleged abuse, Deitchman surreptitiously recorded on her cell phone a brief encounter with Harris.

In April, Deitchman ran from Simply Hope, violating the terms of her probation.

Deitchman was arrested in July for a violation of probation.

Former Simply Hope administrator Teresa Croyle, who is Harris' former fiancee, claims in January she discovered inappropriate texting on Harris' cell phone with several former clients, including Jetta Deitchman.

"He made reference to her butt, he made reference to wanting to rub her down with oil," Croyle recalled.

Croyle says that when she confronted Harris about the texting he said he was conducting covert operations for the drug court team to build cases against the clients and their associates.

A 6th Judicial Circuit spokesman called that ridiculous.

"Why were there no males, why were there only females in these covert operations, gosh knows there are enough male clients as well," Croyle said.

Last week 8 On Your Side revealed that another former Simply Hope client, 29 year old Korrine Burdick, also recently spoke with detectives about Harris.

Burdick says she related to investigators what she told her probation officer back in 2010, that Harris propositioned her.

"He's well, I'm in control here and basically what I says goes and you can either give me what I want or you can go to prison," Burdick said.

The drug court referred Burdick to Simply Hope in November 2009. By December she was staring at trouble with the court over drug tests Harris claimed she failed.

Burdick says in a private meeting Harris told her everything with the court would be okay if she gave Harris what he wanted.

"I started to get up and he came around and he kind of sat me back down and started rubbing my shoulders and he's like, you like I said, you just give me what I want, give me what I want," she said.

Burdick fled from Harris and the program, violating her probation.

She was later arrested and sentenced to state prison for a year and a day. Probation records raise a question about whether Burdick ever recanted her story, she says she never did. Records also show she failed two drug tests while at Simply Hope.

Harris is a former drug abuser.

He did time in the Florida State Prison system in 1997 and 2000 for trafficking stolen property, manufacturing and delivering heroin and organized fraud.

Now Harris claims to have turned his life around and runs a drug rehab program to which the court routinely refers drug abusers.

Harris has refused comment. He has referred questions to his attorney, Denis DeVlaming.

DeVlaming said that he and Harris will meet with sheriff's detectives next week to give a statement to try to clear things up that have been said about Harris.

DeVlaming says there is documented proof that Burdick took back her allegations and failed drug tests while at Simply Hope.

According to DeVlaming, Harris is staying clear of Simply Hope and the drug court for the time being.

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